NEW YORK — One year since the death of George Floyd shook the nation and sparked a year of calls for criminal justice reform, a policing overhaul remains in limbo.
Last month, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress and called for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“Let’s get it done next month,” he said, “by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death.”
Congress is set to miss that Tuesday deadline, unable to universally agree on a bill that would bar chokeholds, ban no-knock warrants, and roll back qualified immunity for rogue police officers, the latter of which is a major sticking point.
White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki, speaking Monday, said Biden isn’t giving up.
“He is encouraged that there is ongoing progress, and that there is a sense from the negotiators that there is a path forward, and he believes that he can continue to press on that,” she said.
Qualified immunity protects police officers from being sued in civil court for gross misconduct..
Activist, filmmaker, and Columbia University Professor Jamal Joseph said activism over the last year was necessary to reach even this point.
“We’ve come a great distance in terms of people knowing the have to be active — that their voices have to be heard.”
But Joseph said the fact that America is still debating and politicizing the question of just how much protection should be offered to bad cops speaks volumes.
“We’ve not com very far in terms of the dehumanization of Black people and police brutality. Black people are still seen by many police departments — where there’s systemic racism — as a threat, and as the enemy,” he said. “This is inherent racism and fear, and dehumanization of the Black community.”